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Monday Morning Commute: A Trade Was Made

mmc a trade was made

The Universe was owed a life, so I gave it the first twenty-five years of mine. It only seemed fair. When a daredevil defies the odds, a Furie is bested. It only seemed fair. When a beast recoils just before the trap snaps shut, the Odds are defied. It only seemed fair. Fourteen years ago I took a ride that should have claimed me, but the Universe wasn’t paying attention.

I don’t believe in Providence, or Destiny, but I do believe in Chance. The opportunity to do better, to improve, to make the most of it. Like a lot of chances, I hadn’t asked for it, nor did I expect it. But it was given to me all the same.

So when I climbed out of that car, climbed out of myself, and climbed out of whatever sort of husk had set slowly over me during my first quarter-century, I looked the Universe in its Third Eye. We spoke nothing, but exchanged something, and that was the first twenty-five years of my life.

It only seemed fair.

This summer though, I’ve gone looking. Around the corners. Down the halls. Behind the aisles. Looking for those first twenty-five years of my life.

They were there. Right there. Just waiting for me.

The lie I had told myself was that I had given the Universe the first twenty-five years of my life, but the truth really was that I didn’t want them anymore. Maybe it’s necessary to lie to yourself every once in a while. When you’re climbing out of cars, when you’re climbing out of yourselves, when you’re climbing out of husks. Clean starts don’t exist, but maybe sometimes you need to believe in them just to put your first foot forward. But that doesn’t amputate the angst, it just punts it. My first twenty-five years weren’t sacrificed, they were stabled, tabled, hidden for a while.

This summer though, I’ve gone looking. Rummaging. Pulling out and examining those first twenty-five years.

They were there. Right there. Just waiting for me.

What’s nostalgia when it’s dread?

What’s nostalgia when you’re not looking back because it feels good, but because it hurts?

Sometimes maybe lies are necessary, and definitely sometimes maybe hurt is good for the soul. Not the sort of ruinous hurt that lays one down, but the sort of healing hurt that comes from acknowledging who you were and finding peace with it. It’s easy to say you Contain Multitudes when you’re just trying to pretend you’re complicated and unique. It’s difficult to say you Contain Multitudes when you’re ashamed of the first twenty-five years of your life. A burdensome, non-productive shame. Though, is shame ever really a productive emotion? Probably not.

This summer though, I’ve gone looking. I’ve found them. The first twenty-five years of my life.

They were there. Right there. Just waiting for me.

What does it mean to acknowledge? What does it mean to accept? What’s the difference between the two?

Not sure, unclear, and I have no idea.

But what I have found this summer is as I’ve sifted through the wreckage, the bartering with the Cosmos, the climbing, the cars, the husks, the shame, the liminal states, the regretful behavior, the endless car rides, the sleepless nights, the countless different medications, the unpredictability as a friend-boyfriend-brother-son-coworker, is that, as they say, the Way Out Is Through.

I thought the Universe was owed a life, so I thought I’d give it the first twenty-five years of mine. It declined. The rest has been up to me.

This is Monday Morning Commute.

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Monday Morning Commute: The Death Sentence

A monarch on a dying planet.

The impermanence of culture on the internet.

A neighbor’s dog in a dying body.

The impermanence of one’s own memory on the internet.

A fleeting thought connecting all of these on a dying strand of consciousness.

There was a column I had intended on writing that would tie together these disparate thoughts. In fact, I had intended to string them along clumsily in this week’s Monday Morning Commute. Heavy-handedly sort them into an array, sewn together with some half-baked idea about living under the Sword of Damocles. The monarch blooming in our garden, despite things in motion to ensure its extinction. Contemplating the existence of OL, amid the slow heat death of blogs and websites. My neighbor’s dog happily looking to me for affection, unknowing of its own body harboring cancer. Myself trying to understand my own evolution through the rummaging of posts here, not wanting to relinquish my own Archive in order to transition to a different medium.

But clearly, I didn’t. But clearly, I haven’t. Not outside of some sort of meta-reflection on their potential connections.

Sometimes the words don’t come. Sometimes the words come but you don’t want to utter them. To cast them into the Ether, for judgment, for evaluation, for to speak them makes them real. To comment on the butterfly, or the dog, or my own history is to ensure their reality. Their death sentence.

Sometimes it’s just too much, and that’s okay.

Tangentially, it reminds me of PKD’s quote about the sentence that can destroy you. About the certainty that you will hear it, but also the fact that another “sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you” and maybe this week let’s just focus on that.

Be that sentence to someone this week. There is this notion that kindness is weakness, that softness is frailty. However, I think there’s strength in the move that opens up your own heart to someone. To speak the second sentence, you must accept the vulnerability that comes from uttering the kindness. Paradoxically, the softness at your center is only expressed through strength.

Destruction is easy, its as simple as clapping your hands.

Obliteration is easy, its as simple as closing your eyes and swinging.

It requires only the reptile at the core of your meat-processor to gnash alive.

For this week let’s admire the monarch. Let’s pet the dog. Let’s simply accept the waves of entropy and times that usher us along. Let’s deal with it by sharing the second sentence.

This is Monday Morning Commute.

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Monday Morning Commute: Locked Out Of Your Own Temple

mmc locked out of your own temple

Man, let me in! Let me in to my own fucking temple, man! How dare I be locked out of my sanctum, my home, my astral resting place. I’m talking about my own goddamn mind, man. One of the things I’m constantly realizing these days is that in many ways I’m locked out of my own goddamn mind, and I would argue I’m not alone. I think some of the more interesting shit happening in our minds emotionally is obfuscated by the emotional plaque that builds up, the defense mechanisms we subconsciously construct, and the narratives we tell ourselves.

Behind the scenes!

In my own goddamn temple!

I mean.

I have a good idea about some of the inner-workings, you know? I’m a goddamn man child. I care about people, the planet, and helping others. I’m bad to respond quickly to texts, I’m prone to emotional outbursts (negative and positive), and I’m deeply, deeply addicted to asses, my wife’s ass, and the pursuit of ass. The never-ending quest for ass.

I mean.

However at the same time, Jesus Christ, what’s going on in here? My mind! However at the same time, Jesus Christ, what’s going on in all our minds?! I’ve begun to realize that in many ways I’m a stranger until myself! Said revelation has come to me because at least once a week my therapist asks me a question that stops me in my tracks.

“Oh yeah, I like myself.”

Do you like yourself?”

I mean.

Well said! Now that you’ve asked, I’m not really sure.

“I mean, I think so.”

Would you question yourself, if you did?”

I mean!

Well said! Now that you’ve asked me, I’m not really sure.

All you can really do is be mindful of your own goddamn Temple, you know? Realize you ain’t seeing everything that’s going on in that son of a bitch. Humble yourself to the notion that there may be doors you can’t open yourself. Doors you can’t see yourself. All you can really do is be mindful of the fact that sometimes others can see into those existential doors, windows, gutters, and gulches of yours better than you can. If they’re kind, let them help you.

Locked out of your own temple! Goddamn. Life is a fucking trip, man.

This is Monday Morning Commute.

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Views From The Space-Ship: Surpriseskies

views - surprise

Most of my time these days is dedicated to grocery shopping, bringing my wife various coffees, and mountain biking. It’s a quiet life. A peaceful life. While I’m ready to get back into the classroom, goddamn do I ever appreciate this summer siesta.

Glimpse upon these Views From The Space-Ship and weep, mortals.

See you sluts in the comments section. Or not.

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Monday Morning Commute: Of Bros and Brands

mmc of bros and brands

At this point (Ian write the fucking column!), it’s old news that Desus & Mero have broken-up. Sundered not just their business ventures, but also their friendship. Both said sunderings caught people by surprise, but I think it’s the latter that struck us in the asshole with the jagged-edges of a bolt from Mount Olympus. I think the announcement shocked us most not because D&M’s creative endeavors were done, but rather what their parting writ large on all our naïve foreheads. Permanent marker. Poorly scrawled.

Things get tricky when involving bros and brands.

Somewhat apropos, the news dropped the same week as Jordan Peele’s new (dope) horror movie, Nope. Peele was a member of another verdant comedy two-piece, that of Key & Peele. But while Desus & Mero’s falling out involved shitty subtweets, rumors, beefs, All-Caps Fuckdowns (that’s when you fucking smack someone down, it’s a corny word I just made up, but I’m a corny white dude), and general messiness, the splitting up of Key and Peele felt more like a conscious uncoupling.


Things get tricky when involving bros and brands.

I found it hard not to think about these two famous pairs going their own ways and not reflect upon my own bullshit here on the Space-Ship Omega. All the friends I’ve worked with, and subsequently watched drift away, find their own pursuits, and empty out their compartments aboard OL. I mean, that’s what we all do, right? Suffer from Main Character Syndrome these days. Some Main Characters are intelligent, some are quirky. This Main Character plays thousands of hours of Dead Cells, consumes enough caffeine to kill a Goliath, and eats shit on the regular mountain biking.

OL has gone from the Brothers Omega, to the Gathering of the Juggalos-levels of madness, to me sitting upon upon the MindPerch controlling the Destinatron of the Space-Ship. But that’s life.

You know?

Things get tricky when involving bros and brands.

But I think it’s only problematic when the growth ain’t embraced. It’s one thing to evolve and grow apart. In a lot of ways, duos, gangs, and gaggles of fuckfaces should encourage one another to grow. Most of the time that’s healthy as fuck, even if it means splitting up the Gang.

(Except in the case of RATM devolving into Audioslave, that shit is both gross and unacceptable.)

For one’s self to not grow is worse. To not encourage those you care about to develop because you’re satisfied with who they are now is selfish. To cling to a status quo or an ossified endeavor (how many seasons of Key & Peele did we really need?) instead of chasing that next piece of your development ain’t the right move.

The emotional catastrophe strikes when these changes breed resentment. We ain’t crying cause Key & Peele broke up, though we may be sad that the show ended. We ain’t crying because Desus and Mero are no longer are sitting across from one another. We’re crying because we bought into their friendship and we have seen that torn apart. It ain’t their show ending that’s a bummer, it’s what it represents.

A relationship caved in under the pressure of success, a lack of respect for one another’s evolution, and the sundry things that emerge when friendships meet bottom lines. When friendships meet workloads. When friendships meet deadlines. And (I’ve never had this problem) when friendships meet profit margins, contract talks, and cold hard cash.

Things get tricky when involving bros and brands.

That said, at the end of the day I’d rather be the lone steward here of the Space-Ship than have those I care about unwillingly chained to the uranium-pits in the reactor room feeding the Engine, because that was the way things where when we were thriving. In my personal life, I want to see my friends evolve, grow, and find peace. However, it is a lot easier to wish for that when it doesn’t materially impact a shared creation.

Such a realization is born out of my own growth, though. An acknowledgement that despite being the Main Character in the Hellscape that is modernity, I’m actually not the Main Character. I’m just another actor in the throat of a large actor-network and to encourage is to promote, and to cling is to cleave.

I genuinely don’t know what the fuck I’m going on about. Friendships, failed relationships, and the Space-Ship Omega.

This is Monday Morning Commute.

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Views From The Space-Ship: Milk Was A Bad Choice

Goddamn, is it ever fucking hot out. I mean, look at a map of the United States (and the UK, and Europe, et cetera) and you’re just seeing nuts-meltingly high temperatures. Not good, Rob. Not great, Bob! Fucking Hell. It’s a race between Catastrophe and Mild Catastrophe when it comes to this planet, and goddamn do I hope the latter wins. Cross your fingers, legs, and genitals.

Here are some Views From The Space-Ship for Your Eyes.

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Monday Morning Commute: What It Portends

Lucy’s been sleeping a lot more in her dirt holes this summer. Outside, conked out, oblivious to the dirt she’s covered in. Oblivious to the inexorable march of time that has her sleeping more. Oblivious to a lot of things.

It’s adorable, her sleeping in the dirt holes. I don’t have a problem with her doing so, even if she tracks dirt, dust, and the random errant branch into the house.

It’s what it portends.

I’ve been staring a lot more in the mirror lately trying to understand the face looking back. My nose is sharper. My eyes a bit more wearied. Not the face that I picture when I close my eyes. I told my wife that I was concerned I was aging. Bad news, she said. We’re all aging. I clarified that I was concerned I was aging poorly. No, she said. She told me she enjoyed the chin of my beard going gray. I suppose I don’t mind it the grays themselves.

It’s what it portends.

Last week the head of my department called me up. Asked me if I’d be willing to teach a different course, for my fourth course of the semester. You see, the sections of my usual course weren’t filling up. It’s all a numbers game. Hell yeah, I told him. I’d be happy to. In fact, the course he proposed was something I was interested in teaching in the Fall. It isn’t really the switch of the course that concerns me.

It’s what it portends.

Last week, I had to go to my therapy session equipped with the answer to her question from the prior one. She wanted to know what life would be like if I woke up one day “completely healed” of my mental maladies. She called it the magical serum question. I spent a good amount of the week leading up to the session thinking about her homework assignment.

The truth is, I don’t think I really had a good answer. But I told her I want to be able to live in the moment more. To be present. It’s not a particularly stunning revelation, not a particularly eye-opening wish, especially for someone with anxiety. But as the week passed, and I found myself saddened at my dog’s life winding down, or at my own face in the mirror, or at my potential course load down the line, I realized I was tired. Tired of always asking myself.

What does it portend?

This is Monday Morning Commute.

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Views From The Space-Ship: Let It Overtake Us

We’ve had a good fucking run, man. Or, I don’t know. Have we? The Grown-Up Apes have found combustion and promptly decimated this shit in like, two-hundred years? As Carlin says though, “the planet’s fine, we’re fucked.” I paraphrased that. But, yeah. Hopefully it’ll fucking outlive us. Anyways, I’m here. Want to see what my life is like pushing 40 years-old? You’re in the right place.

This is Views From The Space-Ship!

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Monday Morning Commute: a more quiet summer

Living through a more quiet summer than usual. When given the opportunity to interview for a summer position I had held for ten years, I decided that my interview would consist of a polite “no thank you” and an existential middle finger or two. That’s life, baby. Which has led me to a sort of ponderous, mostly relaxing summer as a Full Time Minder for my wife, a role I attack with aplomb and competence.

At the same time, the summer has also been laced with strife and difficulty. My wife’s family on her Mom’s side seems to suffer one loss after another. I’m not saying their family farm was built on cursed colonized land (I mean, it was colonized, all of this is) but the two of us joke about that it was. To bare my soul is to admit that I’m at the perpetual intersection of trying to figure out how to console my wife, and also throwing a pity-party for myself. She grieves on a consistent level that can only be the byproduct of an indifferent Universe. However, at a certain point my selfish ass just wants quality time with my her. How does one reconcile the desire to stamp their feet petulantly with an equally meaningful desire to be a good spouse?

I’ll hang up and take the answer off the air.

Seriously though, I don’t know! But, I’ve finally got hooked up with a therapist and I’m eager to till my fucking emotional land.

But here I am.

I haven’t written much lately, as evidenced by the fucking four month silence here. I miss writing, expressing myself, and connecting with others. I’m held back by this ingrained idea in my head that frankly I don’t have much to say and even if I did no one really gives a fuck and even more dangerous is that I don’t blame them. Look at that fucking trifecta.

But here I am.

A more quiet summer, a more pensive CaffPow. Such is the state of things. Nonetheless, such a situation does not foreswear me from enjoying the various arts and farts. This is what I’m enjoying lately.

This is Monday Morning Commute.

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Monday Morning Commute: Going Home Isn’t Always Bad

Well, the lights are back on. The air purifiers churning out recycled farts. The humming of the nexus-engines providing a soothing-if-not-ominous brown noise. The Space-Ship Omega has been roused from its slumber. ‘Cause sometimes going home isn’t always bad. After creating a Discord last year for OL acolytes (it’s not a cult, but it’s also not not a cult), the question became rather daunting: what purpose did a blog serve? It was a question which hounded me from tip to taint, and I suppose eventually I fell upon the misbegotten answer. I decided that the blog served no purpose.

I was incorrect, friends. You see, it’s a smaller, more intimate gathering for those not up for the perpetual word-vomiting of fellow Space-Ship inhabitants. But, as well? It’s a fantastic archive of my travels through space-time. The blog proves to be snapshot of my existence at various points in my linear meat-space existence. If this blog ain’t for anyone else, it’s for me. But I hope it’ll also be for you.

You see, going home isn’t always bad. Sometimes, it’s exactly what you need. A reprieve, an enclave, an oasis.

This is Monday Morning Commute. Grab a pop, pop off your pants, and let’s shoot the shit about what we’re looking forward to this week. And if it’s only me? Babbling to me? Into infinity? I’m fine with it.

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